Daily Aspirin May Ward Off Cancer Deaths
If you've been taking an aspirin a day to keep your heart healthy, you may also be lowering your risk of dying of cancer. John A Baron of the University of North Carolina School of Medicine published a paper called "Aspirin and Cancer: Trials and Observational Studies" in the Journal of the National Cancer Institute that suggested the"striking efficacy of aspirin in reducing cancer mortality."
"Aspirin recently celebrated its commercial centenary, but the exciting news has been a series of articles by Rothwell et al. that report on the follow-up of cardiovascular trials begun in the late 1970s and afterward," he wrote. "One of the recent reports analyzed short-term, in-trial incidence and mortality data from 51 trials. It showed that aspirin conferred a 31% reduction in cancer mortality 5–10 years after subjects were randomized to study treatment, though there was essentially no reduction during the first 5 years."
Remember, however, that whenever you see the word "observational" in connection with research, you need to be aware that cause and effect has not yet been proved.
In addition, Baron notes that "just because aspirin is effective does not mean it necessarily should be used. Aspirin is a real drug, with definite toxicity. As for any preventative intervention, the benefits must be balanced against the risks, particularly when the benefits are delayed whereas the risks are not."